Babeland sent me The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women by Mikaya Heart to review an embarrassingly long time ago. Really, I should have had this review posted way before now, but the book took me ages to finish–not because it’s boring or unpleasant to read, as it’s actually quite insightful and well written. It’s just that I thought I’d get it read over the holidays, since that’s when I tend to do a lot of reading. Unfortunately, I neglected to consider that I usually read on my Kindle, and this isn’t the sort of book cover I can flash open just any time I feel like perusing a few chapters.
Published by Cleis Press, The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women has 248 pages, a forward by Violet Blue, a comprehensive list of resources, information about safer sex, and a helpful questionnaire in the appendices, as well as an index. I note the presence of an index because for me the lack of one is often a deal breaker. I like to be able to find the information I’m looking for quickly and easily, and a few times I’ve been seriously disappointed in what was otherwise a fantastic book, only to find that nobody bothered to include an index.
There are 11 chapters covering the subject of female orgasm from just about every angle imaginable, starting with what the author defines as the facets of sexual play (communication, laughter, and acceptance of diversity) before moving on to the basics of anatomy, and then covering other topics like masturbation, the many ways orgasms can be experienced (namely physically, energetically, and spiritually), early sexual experiences, and relationships. The later chapters focus on penetration, G-spot stimulation, female ejaculation, fisting, and anal sex.
The information contained in this book is useful, accurate, and presented well. From the beginning Heart does her best to debunk the myth of a “definitive orgasm” by citing facts and research, and throughout the book there are quotes from women describing their various experiences relating to orgasm. I think the author is trying to demonstrate the many different ways women can orgasm, and the diverse range of feelings and sensations associated with their arousal and orgasm. The bottom line here is that everybody orgasms their own way, and there’s no such thing as a wrong way to have an orgasm. This should be reassuring to women who find that their sexual experiences don’t quite match what they’ve read, seen, or heard should be happening.
Heart stresses the importance of masturbation as a way of tuning into and learning your own body so that you’re more able to communicate your needs to your partner. While she does mention the use of sex toys and vibrators as useful tools to help a woman achieve orgasm and/or experience different kinds of stimulation, she recommends touching yourself with your own hands so that you can truly feel what your body is doing and how it responds.
If you’re looking for a guide that gives you an exact scientific or more formulaic method for achieving orgasm (e.g., “stimulate clitoris in a circular motion for X minutes”) then this isn’t that book. Sure, there are plenty of useful tips, suggestions, and techniques, but the focus is more on letting go, learning about your body, communicating with your partner, and doing what feels good to you in order to attain sexual satisfaction. I did find the sections on Tantra and Kundalini very helpful, as well as the information on using breath and meditation. Personality-wise, I’m someone who has very little patience, and those are techniques I’ve started to explore, in the hope that such exercises will improve my life overall, not just sexually.
I think this book is a great place to start for women who are looking to improve their sex life, whether they already have orgasms or not. Healing and recovering from bad early sexual experiences and abuse is also addressed throughout the book, and I think the author really wants every women to have the ability to enjoy her body and sex life to the fullest, regardless of background and cultural expectations. Even those who have already let all that baggage go and know about the importance of communication, being in the moment, and allowing our bodies to do what they do could pick up some useful tips and information. There’s always more to learn.